Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Contemporary Slovene Literature

By Flis, Lea | Contemporary Review, April 2004 | Go to article overview

Contemporary Slovene Literature


Flis, Lea, Contemporary Review


IF THE name Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital sounds exotic and foreign, and if keeping Slovenia and Slovakia apart seems a somewhat formidable task, one should not get so discouraged as to disregard the literary activity of Slovenia, a country that, for a long time, lived with the stigma of being the Terra Incognita of Central Europe.

In 1905, when moving to Italy, the great James Joyce himself got off the train in Ljubljana, thinking he had already arrived in the Northeastern Italian city of Trieste. This story became legendary and it might on occasion assume the function of a kind of comforting pillow for those who don't feel too confident about their geographical, as well as historical background. At least in those days both cities were part of the Habsburg Empire.

The reference to Joyce may in fact be apt, when discussing Slovenia's contemporary literature. There are parallels between our tiny population of two million and that of Joyce's Ireland. We too are a nation who has struggled for independence, and who has always, despite hardships, managed to find hope through the written word.

Is there a potential Nobel-prize winner for literature hidden somewhere in a shady corner of the proverbially sunny side of the Alps? That is, after all, how guide-books usually describe Slovenia. But are we really so brilliant? Sadly, the reality tells a different, a gloomier kind of story.

Contemporary Slovenian authors are, regrettably, not well represented on the international English-speaking book market. This is, to a large extent, the result of the fact that our nation did not have its full legal and political independence until 1991, the revolutionary year when the repressive and corrupt federation of Southern Slavs, Yugoslavia, finally cracked. And this long-anticipated event gave rise to Slovenia's independence--on more than one level. And new history began. Culture, literature and especially language, which have, throughout history, represented the strongest pillars of the fragile identity of our nation, were finally given wings.

It was predominantly Slovenian poetry that has long played the leading role in the revolutionary poetic movement. Therefore it deserves to be discussed first.

In the attempt to describe the contemporary poetic development, one must recall the name France Preseren (1800-1849), the leading representative of Romanticism, a poet who, with his breathtaking and artistically perfected poetry--especially love sonnets--revolutionised Slovenian poetry by introducing a number of Romantic forms. He is legitimately called the father of modern Slovenian poetry. His poetry truly encompasses the entire universe. His sonnets, stanzas, tercets, romances, gazelles, epigrams and ballads, all these poetic forms, in one way or another, imply the idea of freedom, either freedom on a very individualistic level or a freedom desired by all the enslaved nations. Not only are his poems universal in their ideas, they also epitomise our nation's specific, unrelentless pursuit of spiritual and political liberation.

If melancholia seems, to some extent, the prevailing ailment in Preseren's poetry, as well as in the poetic creations of some of his descendants (especially the representatives of the group of writers who created their major works in the period between 1899 and 1918, predominantly belonging to the literary movement known as 'the New Romanticism'--Dragotin Kette, Josip Murn, Ivan Cankar and Oton Zupancic), a whole new generation of literary artists, whose works were free of the sentiments of repressive external subjugation and, consequently, melancholia emerged some decades later. Threats of tyranny and censorship no longer smothered them.

Poetry anticipating a better, freer future is typical for the work of Tomaz Salamun (1941), whose truly groundbreaking poetic creations enable us to call him one of leading Central European avant-garde poets. He began his creation in the nineteen sixties and was, at some point, even treated as an outcast and a dissident.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Contemporary Slovene Literature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.